Executive Outplacement - a new start or a career break?

By Rainer Schmoldt

Major changes in the market or in their own company force top management to act and thus often to reorganise. Caused by economic crises, the appearance of new competitors with substitute goods or simply the end of the product life cycles of the goods or services offered, companies have to reorganise themselves in order to not endanger their existence. These necessary change processes are an integral part of the management repertoire and take place constantly. Sometimes they reach an extent that makes Executive Outplacements unavoidable. This is a bitter blow, especially for managers who have been very successful for many years and who identify strongly with the company.

The term “Executive Outplacement” describes a service initiated by companies for their departing managers, which is offered as professional help for career reorientation - up to the conclusion of a new managerial contract. Herein lies the answer to the question in the headline: it is about reorientation and not about getting rid of managers who may have been decisively responsible for the successful development of the company for many years. But what is meant by reorientation and how can you ensure that it works? Basically, it is about finding a professional challenge for a departing manager that best combines track record and capabilities. This assumes three conditions:

  • First, the track record and capabilities must be analysed in detail
  • Secondly, identified results should fit the new management task
  • Thirdly, the manager should be truly motivated to see the situation not as a failure but as an opportunity

Regardless of education, studies or professional experience, the success of an Executive Outplacement, as with any job application, depends first of all on analysing the personality of the manager concerned: Is it the strategic, goal-oriented way of working, creativity or freedom of design or leadership skills that distinguish the manager? Mercuri Urval’s job-related personality analysis for executives, also called Leadership Assessment, not only provides clarity on these questions but also about the professional environment the manager was successful in. It is worth the effort because this is the only way to ensure that, in a second step, the future management tasks match the track record and the personality profile of the manager concerned and that they quickly are back on track.

Executive Outplacement also includes, above all, close personal support for the manager concerned in their reorientation: starting with the development and design of the CV, the activation and expansion of the manager's own network, the search strategy for relevant sectors and employers, the preparation of and argumentation in job interviews, right through being contact partner in the contract phase. All in all, the manager receives intensive support in the form of coaching until a new management position arises.

For companies, investing in the future of their former managers is definitely worthwhile, as it has a positive effect on the working atmosphere and, as a consequence, also on the willingness of the remaining managers to perform. A professional Executive Outplacement and thus a dignified farewell to deserving managers has a signal effect for the company and their good market reputation that should not be underestimated.


About the author

Rainer Schmoldt is Group Director at Mercuri Urval. He supports his clients in Executive Search, filling vacant management positions and with Talent Services in identifying managerial potential. He is also an expert in Executive Outplacement.

  • Executive Outplacement
  • Change management
  • Leadership Assessment
  • Personality Analysis